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Iraqi Judge Says Hussein To Be Executed Within Hours --> Saddam Hussein reacts as the court pronounces him guilty on November 5 (AFP) December 29, 2006 -- A top Iraqi judge says Saddam Hussein will be executed today or on December 30 at the latest.

The Associated Press today quoted Munir Haddad as making the comments. Haddad is a judge on an appeals court that upheld the former dictator's death sentence earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Hussein's chief defense lawyer, Khalil al-Dulaimi, told Reuters today that U.S. officials had told him in an e-mail that Hussein has been transferred out of U.S. hands.

Al-Dulaimi said the e-mail did not specify that Hussein was in Iraqi custody, but he believed that to be the case.

Neither Iraqi or U.S. officials have confirmed the transfer, which is a key step toward Hussein's execution.

Hussein and two codefendants were sentenced to death for their role in the killing of 148 people from Al-Dujayl in 1982.

The appeals court said the former president should be hanged within 30 days.

Hussein's lawyers continued to urge the Iraqi government not to proceed with the hanging.

"The execution of Mr. President and his colleagues under the current circumstances and at this point in time will intensify the situation in Iraq," Ziad al-Khasawneh, a member of Hussein's defense team, told reporters in Jordan today. "No window or door will be left open for political dialogue in order to lead Iraq [to peace], as we hope. Besides, it is not permissible in legal practice and under normal proceedings to execute someone during a holiday period [the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha]."

Meanwhile, European leaders continued to express their opposition to the execution.

"I think all dictators should answer for their acts -- all dictators," Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told reporters in Madrid today. "That does not always happen in history, but I will never support the death penalty, not even for the worst behaved politician. I am against the death penalty, so I cannot support that type of punishment [for Saddam Hussein]."

(Reuters, AP)

The Tragedy At Al-Dujayl

A protester in Baghdad carries a picture of a relative killed at Al-Dujayl (AFP file photo)


Former Iraqi dictator SADDAM HUSSEIN and seven of his associates went on trial on October 19, 2005, on charges of crimes against humanity for the regime's role in the deaths of 148 residents from the town of Al-Dujayl, and the imprisonment of 1,500 others following a botched assassination attempt against Hussein there on July 8, 1982. Following the arrests and deportations, the regime leveled the town... (more)

See also:

Al-Dujayl Native Tells Her Story

Al-Dujayl Survivor Says 'We Want The Deserved Punishment For The Guilty